“Pikuach Nefesh” vs. “Ready to Lick the Floor”
March 18, 2020


So much of the news today seems to center around one all-important theme: People can’t seem to wrap their heads around how important it is to stay the hell away from each other right now. Just watch Jake Tapper and Sanjay Gupta on CNN as they struggle not to lose their minds over the indifference …

Yes, There Are Crystals
March 17, 2020


We’re having what I am calling a zero-tolerance attitude toward fake medicine profiteering during this crisis. So when our own Nick Little found his beloved Wegmans store hawking homeopathic products during all the disaster-prep shopping, he was having none of it, and sent a message to the CEO: “As you are well aware, we are …

Pus and Globuli
March 16, 2020


The people of Earth seem fascinated by the idea that Sylvia Browne, the late fake-psychic, maybe actually didn’t predict the coronavirus pandemic, as shockingly revealed by our own Benjamin Radford. Newsweek and UK’s Independent report on Ben’s jaw-dropping exposé, which concludes, “So we have a two-sentence prediction written in 2008 by a convicted felon with …

Spin the Black Circle
March 13, 2020


So, everything is terrible, but, like, way more so than usual. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Disneyland and Disney World are closed. American Atheists cancels its convention in Arizona. I was going to be in a play for the first time since dinosaurs ruled the …

Sylvia Browne’s Non-Psychic, Non-Coronavirus Prediction
March 12, 2020


In recent weeks there’s been plenty of rumors, myths, and misinformation about the newest coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19. I’ve written several pieces on the topic, tackling both intentional and accidental bogus information. Some of the most pernicious, of course, involves misinformation about healthcare decisions (such as fake cures), but there are others. One of the most …

Ostracized from the Ostracized
March 12, 2020


I didn’t watch the president’s address last night, but I hear it was…not the best. Anyway, you know what’s going on. Pandemic declared, NBA season suspended, Capitol Hill staffer for Washington’s Sen. Maria Cantwell tests positive for the virus, and of course, the gut-punchiest of all, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announce they’ve got it, …

I’ve Lost Some Sleep Over It
March 11, 2020


The latest episode of our podcast Point of Inquiry has host Jim Underdown talking to Skeptical Inquirer‘s Benjamin Radford about the myths and misinformation about the coronavirus. Share this episode with others, but, you know, don’t share your headphones. Meet Iran’s Abbas Tabrizian, described by followers as “the father of Islamic medicine,” whatever that means. …

The Wreckage Left Behind
March 10, 2020


The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to to fight the battles we never could. No, not the Avengers, but doctors on Facebook. Jan Hoffman at the New York Times reports on the efforts …

‘Birds of Prey’ Misogyny: When Clickbait Harms Women
March 9, 2020


Recently a headline widely shared on social media decried poor reviews of the new film Birds of Prey and blamed it on male film critics hating the film for real or perceived feminist messages (and/or skewed expectations; it’s not clear). The article, by Sergio Pereira, was headlined “Birds of Prey: Most of the Negative Reviews …

The Trickle Before the Flood
March 9, 2020


Walmart is trying to quash CFI’s lawsuit over the mega-retailer’s deceptive marketing of homeopathic fake medicine, telling the judge that we don’t have standing because CFI is, apparently, only a secular humanism group, and nothing else. Is that right? Their motion to dismiss is full of falsehoods, and we have responded: “Let’s not ignore the …